Denver trumpeter Joshua Trinidad

(Photo: 303 Magazine. Courtesy of Joshua Trinidad)

Denver trumpeter Joshua Trinidad is just 30, but he’s been to a lot of funerals in recent years. He noticed something about the music. It's always the same -- songs like “Heaven” by Los Lonely Boys or “Wind Beneath My Wings” by Bette Midler. The songs don’t necessarily have anything to do with the person who died.

One night, Trinidad was listening to some music written by a friend who was battling cancer, and he thought, "What if I were to die tomorrow? What music would I want to be played at my funeral?" He decided to compose and record his own work, a half-hour suite of songs called, "Cortege."
Trinidad recorded the music in his home studio, after sending his wife and son away to visit relatives. He needed time alone to reflect on his life.
“I kind of went through a point of mourning of my own self,” he says. “I don’t think anyone looks forward to dying, but I kind of put myself in that place.”
Trinidad composed "Cortege" as a single work, structured for his memorial service, but it isn’t necessarily meant to be performed in a church.
“Friends and family can listen to this anywhere, anytime,” he says, “and reflect on our friendship or maybe something we’ve done together. It doesn’t have to be so traditional.”
Trinidad says he was transformed by "Cortege."
“It seems so cliché to say, ‘Live every day to the fullest,’ but when you write your own funeral music, it really puts a strong weight on what that really means," he says. "Since I’ve created this album, I’ve been trying to do a lot more traveling, and I’ve been trying to be more open minded to things and relationships with people.”